It wouldn’t be an election without a little controversy.
The votes are in for New Zealand’s first VegElection, aimed at determining Kiwis’ favourite vegetables and its most despised.
The trusty tomato topped the polls in which around 4500 people cast their vege votes across New Zealand. With a clear majority, the tomato was declared a versatile and widely used ingredient in salads, sauces and sandwiches, making it a popular choice for many people.
However, the winning “vegetable” comes with some controversy.
As pointed out by horticulturist Kate Hillier, it’s important to remember that the tomato is actually classified as a fruit because it develops from the flowering part of the plant and contains seeds.
In a surprise twist, the Brussels sprout did not get banished to the compost bin of history as the Most Hated Vege. That dubious honour was taken out by the much-criticised kale, which ironically had risen to popularity in recent years.
The traditional cow fodder reached superfood status a few years ago due to its range of beneficial nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins and iron.
However, kale’s strong flavour and texture provided a challenge for some.
Yates spokesperson Fiona Arthur, said the VegElection was all about having a bit of fun in the lead-up to National Gardening Week and the more serious business of the country’s General Election.
“As Kiwis gear up for the main event we wanted to create our own take on democracy, which we hope has brought some light relief to the political discourse. Regardless of the election outcome, New Zealanders are united in their love of veges,” Arthur said.
The favourite runner-up was broccoli followed closely by kūmara, and the second most hated vegetable was okra, followed by broadbeans.
The all-important question was put to our political leaders and while some declined to comment, National leader Christopher Luxon briefly stepped off the campaign trail to respond that his favourite vegetable is the potato and least favourite is cabbage.
Arthur said cabbage has had a bad rap over the decades.
“Grandmothers were famous for boiling cabbage into submission but these days cabbage has had quite the facelift. Think cabbage rolls or okonomiyaki – Japanese pancakes – and you can’t go past a good coleslaw.
“Cabbage is a low-calorie, high-fibre vegetable that aids weight management. Due to its high water content you can feel fuller, therefore reducing calorie intake, and its low glycaemic index can regulate blood sugar levels. So it’s a winner all round really,” she said.
Top 10 favourite vegetables, ranking from first to last place, are: tomato; broccoli; kūmara; carrot; peas; spinach; asparagus; beetroot; cabbage; and silverbeet.